Q: Getting a Copy of the Social Security Blue Book
Sorry, you can’t get a physical copy. But you can have something just as good.
The Social Security Blue Book is an essential reference for people who are trying to qualify for benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. Both of these programs provide regular payments to people who are unable to work, and the Social Security Administration—in cooperation with state disability agencies—has been given the job to set up consistent disability rules.
The result was the book Disability Evaluation Under Social Security, which became known as the “Blue Book” for its distinctive binding. Nowadays, the book is no longer printed, and all the information it once contained has been moved online to a page on the Social Security website.
The heart of the Blue Book is its “listings” of adult and childhood disorders and the criteria used to determine whether an ailment rises to the level of a disability. The adult disorders section, for instance, provides 14 broad categories, most of them relevant to major body systems:
- Musculoskeletal System
- Special Senses and Speech
- Respiratory System
- Cardiovascular System
- Digestive System
- Genitourinary Impairments
- Hematological Disorders
- Skin Disorders
- Endocrine Disorders
- Congenital Disorders that Affect Multiple Body Systems
- Neurological Disorders
- Mental Disorders
- Malignant Neoplastic Diseases
- Immune System Disorders
Each of these classifications is further broken down into particular ailments or clusters of symptoms, with guidance about when the severity of specific symptoms should be considered disabling.
Don’t Give Up Hope If Your Condition Isn’t Listed in the Blue Book
The online version of the Social Security Blue Book is occasionally updated with new diagnostic standards. The Social Security Administration recognizes that medicine is always a developing science that develops over time. Therefore, even if your specific diagnosed illness is not listed as disabling condition in the Blue Book, you may still be able to qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits.
At Schmidt Kramer, our Harrisburg disability attorneys have found success in helping clients secure SSDI benefits with these three approaches:
- Arguing that our client’s symptoms and limitations are more serious than those of an established listing in the Blue Book, and therefore she should be considered disabled.
- Helping our client work through a consultative examination, which will provide additional medical information to confirm the conclusions of the applicant’s medical evidence or even establish a Blue Book diagnosis.
- Requesting a residual functional capacity evaluation to determine that our client’s physical or psychological limitations make him unsuitable for employment.
Over the last 25 years, our Social Security Disability lawyers in Harrisburg, PA have done a sterling job helping your neighbors and friends in central Pennsylvania obtain the disability benefits they need.